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But when a fake news story with a believable headline takes people in, the resulting confusion isn’t particularly funny.At best, it prompts a raised eyebrow and a weary sigh. That’s the question now being asked of websites such as National Report.“There’s a spectrum of misinformation out there,” says Adrienne La France, the senior editor of The Atlantic and a former author of Gawker’s myth-debunking blog, Antiviral.They also carry barely noticeable disclaimer pages explaining that the stories are intended for “entertainment purposes” – but it’s not immediately apparent who’s being entertained.There are few of the belly laughs that you might get from satirical news sites such as ; indeed, if confusion is the goal, there’s little incentive to be funny.But the original article has been seen many, many more times.Snopes.com’s workload has been increasing as websites such as intentionally blur the lines between news, satire, entertainment and downright falsehood.

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“The way people share stories and information – that’s human nature,” La France says.

“Dave Chappelle, Dead At 41,” proclaims, reporting the demise of an American comedian who is still very much alive.

“Little Red Book – Original Copy Sold For 0M,” runs a headline on notallowedto.com, for reasons that remain unclear.

Even Lord Justice Leveson, in his report on the culture and ethics of the British media, repeated the peculiar assertion on Wikipedia that this newspaper was co-founded by one “Brett Straub”.

But the more fantastic and ridiculous the claim that’s believed, the funnier we find the gullibility.

So you can understand why people believe things that in retrospect are clearly untrue – and I think part of that is to do with assimilating to this new, real-time news environment.”A new British news site, , is devoted exclusively to the bizarre-but-true.

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